5 NBA players at risk of losing their star status in 2023-24

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers
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Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers

Deandre Ayton has been fine during his first season in Portland. But it almost feels like he's been forgotten now that he's no longer sweltering under the hot sun. Simmons hasn't taken the court for the Brooklyn Nets since Nov. 6. Since then, he's been dealing with a lower back injury and has repeatedly had his timeline for any potential return pushed back.

Ayton was a borderline star in Phoenix, but never seemed to truly break out despite being a top overall pick. Devin Booker outshined him and Kevin Durant's arrival did the same. Ayton also seemed to have issues with Monty Williams, who has arguably ended up in a worse situation than his former center (Detroit).

Ayton is languishing in anonymity, though. Consiering the deal that brought Ayton to Rip City sent Damian Lillard to Milwaukee, it's no surprise the Trail Blazers aren't very good. The team is 6-16, only better than the Memphis Grizzlies and the endlessly falling San Antonio Spurs.

Robert Williams' injury guarantees there's no real center competition in Portland, but Ayton still isn't one of the best players on the team. Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Jerami Grant, and Malcolm Brogdon are all better. Scoot Henderson will be some day soon.

Ayton's first shot at being a star exploded into the sun. The second one might simply shoot into the abyss.